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3D modeling doesn’t have to be complicated. It can actually be a lot of fun, and, at the same time provide valuable knowledge and stimulate creative thinking. CAD for kids can teach children virtual thinking, geometry, and as we believe at Sculpteo, the technology of the future: 3D printing. That’s why today we will talk about Top 12 CAD software for kids!
Whether you want to teach your own children 3D modeling or your class in school, these are intuitive software that will help children from 4 to 13+ years old to 3D design their best ideas.
The first question to consider is the age of children. CAD for kids can be taught from as young as 4-years-old! But their needs and way of learning will be different from teenagers’. This is why it’s important for you to understand what your children require.
Small children will probably be better at using a tablet, it will be more fun for them to actually touch the screen and interact more with created objects. Older kids will have more ambitious and purposeful ideas. Their cad program can be a bit more complicated in order to give them more design freedom.
User Interface is also very important here. For all age groups, the software CAD for kids can’t have badly designed UI where 3D modeling tools are hidden between many other options. The 3D software should be easy to navigate, intuitive and simple.
We’ve selected the best CAD software for kids to start learning how to 3D model. It can also be useful for you to start learning 3D modeling, however, you can also find for that top 17 of the easiest 3D modeling software.
In the table below we listed for you 3D software with information on the age group and on what device it can be used. Then we went deeper into the specifications of each 3D modeling program. Let’s get started!
Through this app, inaugurated at Solidworks World 2016, Dassault Systems wants to sensitize kids to technology and sciences. Having kids use very simple tools at a very early age is surely the best way to encourage future engineers.
Very intuitive, this app is also addressed to parents and professors to help the children get into 3D modeling.
The app is available on a computer, tablet, or smartphone. The tools are very simple and allow basic modeling. You can have an idea here of the software tools available:
With “Capture It” a kid can take pictures and videos and then import them in the app
“Shape It” for simplifies the creation of 3D models
With “Style It”, a kid can very easily add colors and images directly on your 3D model,
With “Mech It”, a kid can design mechanical parts,
“Show It” allows visualization and sharing of designs,
With “Print It” a kid understands very quickly the link with 3D printing and can have his/her object in hands at the end of his modeling!
Tinker CAD is a CAD software for beginners, kids, as well as for hobbyists or even designers. Entirely online, this tool is edited by Autodesk. Find here an interview by Autodesk, explaining how they conceived their CAD programs and how it is thought for kids.
The interface is very simple and colorful. It works with multi-shape blocks to add or subtract one to the other. A special tool also allows you to shape holes. You can also upload STL and SVG files to create mashups.
You will find many tutorials on the website and also a gallery of models conceived by TinkerCAD, to give you an idea of what is doable. We have the first-hand experience with TinkerCAD and can assure you that it is easy CAD for kids!
We all know the iconic LEGO bricks. With LeoCAD, create virtual LEGO models! It is quite fun and your children will easily get used to it if they are already playing with LEGO®. They will be able to do very simple objects and design their own, customized lego models. Thought to be user-friendly, you can select over 6000 different pieces which can help you to create a 3D model faster.
Leopoly is a web browser-based surface 3D design software. It’s very simple to use, and it’s free! On their website, you can choose a designed object on their base, and customize them using their tools. You can also add colors, shapes, and letters to your design. It allows you to work in 3 modes: digital sculpting, formshifting, and cubecraft.
It is possible to design from scratch or upload a file you’ve made using another software. You can then export the file you’ve created it, or 3D print it directly on their platform.
This mobile version of CAD for kids is available on tablets. It gained a lot of popularity in American schools thanks to its simplicity. Children can choose decorative and functional 3D models to edit from the library or they can create their own. Morphy is fun and easy, it’s a great start for kids to enter the 3D reality.
Despite its novelty, this is yet another favorite in American schools. Compared to Morphy, SelfCAD has more sophisticated options (although still keeping it simple enough for children to use). We would suggest SelfCAD to be for older kids starting from 7th grade.
This 3D software has a user-friendly interface, several sculpting, and modeling options. Thanks to slicing tools, you can 3D print your 3D models straight from SelfCAD. This CAD software is based on SaaS learning, therefore an inexperienced user should manage it quite easily.
BlocksCAD helps children from 3rd to 8th grade to learn CS in math standards and teach in a STEAM manner. It was designed to be used at schools. It stimulates children to integrate programming languages, computational thinking, and math through 3D modeling and 3D printing.
This CAD software works with the drag-and-drop method making it very easy for children to get started. It also offers dedicated software tools allowing children to edit their models as their fantasy tells them to.
This platform is very colorful and the icons are very easy to use. 3D Slash is a 3D creation tool integrated with Google Drive. Also, 3D Slash now offers Expert features, which makes it an adaptable CAD software to different ages.
Thanks to the circles on the left of the window, one can choose the size of the tool, from 32mm to ½. The software tools are based on machining tools: hammer, trowel, chisel, and drill. This way it becomes intuitive to “build” your model.
Basics SketchUp software tools are very intuitive. You draw a 2D shape and thanks to the push/pull tool, you create a 3D shape. It has an easy learning curve and will be a perfect CAD program for more specialized classes. SketchUp is a very well known 3D software and is actually used by many professionals, especially in the architecture industry..
This is actually a sculpting 3D software. You start with a sphere that can be edited with various tools: brush, inflate, twist, smooth, drag and more. It is a lot of fun and skilled kids will be able to produce some pretty impressive results. SculptGL is more artistic than CAD software.
To get a better understanding of SculptGL, check out our tutorial.
This CAD software was developed by the community in 2001. A child can easily get around as the User Interface is easy to navigate, showing only the tools you need. It will give beginners a solid foundation and knowledge about 3D modeling and 3D printing. Wings 3D also has advanced options for texturing which are interesting for 3D animations and color 3D printing.
This CAD program was designed specifically for children in K-8 schools. Introducing them to the world of 3D modeling with alternative academic training, practical learning, and interactive challenges. It even provides teachers with teaching programs.
Makers Empire uses the STEAM teaching method and integrates Additive Manufacturing technologies with 3D modeling. This CAD program not only encourages kids to test and prototype but also stimulates creative and analytic thinking.
As you see there are a fair number of software for you to choose from. Depending on the age group of your kids and their needs, there is certainly CAD choice for kids. You can inspire them to show them practical applications of mathematics and innovative technologies such as Additive Manufacturing in a fun and creative way.
Don’t worry though if you don’t own a 3D printer. With online 3D printing service like Sculpteo, you can get your kids’ creations delivered straight to your door. It is as easy as uploading your 3D models to our website! Piece of cake!
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